Bobby Witt Jr. Stands Out
When the the Royals regrouped for summer camp, Bobby Witt Jr. was on the invited list.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound shortstop had just turned 20, but the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft from Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High was arguably the best player on the field.
Though the Royals knew going in they were not going to put him on the active roster, he was the standout star among the position players.
Witt, who the Royals signed for a franchise-record $7,787,400, hit .262/.317/.354 in 37 games last year in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Despite the layoff from competition, Witt looked comfortable in the batter’s box at Kauffman Stadium in intrasquad games.
“He had a lot of quality at-bats against pitchers from upper levels, some who have pitched in the majors,” Roayls assistant general manager and amateur scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. “We were most surprised—and I don’t know if surprise is the right word—how advanced he is at recognizing pitches. I don’t know if that’s in his bloodline.”
Witt’s father, Bobby Sr., pitched 16 years in the majors, winning 142 games. The No. 3 pick in the 1985 draft also picked up a World Series ring with the Diamondbacks in 2001.
Witt Jr. has continued to pound the ball this summer at the alternate site belonging to the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association.
While Witt is considered the Royals' shortstop of the future, the club currently has Adalberto Mondesi at the position. Mondesi turned 25 in July and is also a toolsy player with speed, range and developing power who was the Royals’ top prospect in 2015 and 2016. Mondesi’s father, Raul, also played several years in the majors.
The Royals have played Witt some at third base at the alternate site.
“Guys are bouncing around,” Goldberg said. “(Witt has) played primarily short and third. We’re getting an opportunity to look at some guys at different positions.”
Where Witt will start next season is up to conjecture. Goldberg said that would be a player development decision.
“He has all the intangibles and the physicality to compete at a high level,” Goldberg said.
— Lefthander Foster Griffin, a 2014 first-round pick out of high school, had a bittersweet birthday. He made his big league debut on July 27, the day of his 25th birthday, and picked up the win in relief, but left the game with an injury. Griffin had Tommy John surgery in early August, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Griffin is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2021 season.
— Outfielder Franchy Cordero had surgery to repair a right hamate bone and was placed on the 45-day injured list. The Royals acquired Cordero from the Padres as part of the July 16 trade for lefthanded reliever Tim Hill. Cordero has hit .232/.295/.412 in 90 big league games. He has 10 home runs in 272 at-bats, but has struck out 108 times.